My mushroom/woodchip bed is going extremely well. Mushrooms are popping up faster than I can keep count--about every two days a new flush of mushrooms appears. I have noticed that I really only have about a day and a half to pick the mushrooms or they get too huge for consumption (they kinda taste like shoe leather after that point). As a result, I have a lot of very large mushrooms that are just sitting and rotting quickly. I just got back from the garden and noticed in one area that I had a bunch of very small flies crawling around a couple of old mushrooms. At another spot I have a HUGE, dinner-plate sized mushroom that is starting to rot. That particular mushroom had fallen over and its main stalk was broken in the middle. When I looked closely, I saw that the stalk (almost 2 inches in diameter) was CRAWLING with worms! It looked a bit like maggots and considering the flies I saw at the other spot, maggots seem like an even more likely possibility. I have heard that mushroom tissue is somewhat similar to animal tissue and by that thinking, it seems possible that a decaying mushroom might in fact support maggots.
Although the maggots are a bit gross & unnerving, I can live with them if they simply turn to flies and fly off and get eaten by my numerous wildlife. However, I do have to wonder if there might be any problems having these critters around. I assume that maggots are just another decomposer, in this case going after a neglected mushroom. However, I can not rule out the possibility that they are some other type of worm and I want to rule out the possibility that this would give my garden some sort of infestation.
For the most part I am not terribly concerned, but I am curious and I would love to rule out a more serious issue. Does anyone out there have any experience with this phenomenon? As far as the wood chips are concerned, I can barely find them anymore, having been converted to nice mushroom compost bedding. I just hope I don't have unwanted visitors.
In my foraging and wildcrafting experience, this is just what happens to old mushrooms. They become damaged, their scent profile changes (or something like that), and suddenly the fungus is wormy, or full of maggots.
Just normal decomposition, I would surmise. I wouldn't try to salvage/eat the mushrooms, though.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
posted 4 months ago
Maggots in older wildcrafted mushrooms is perfectly normal. My wildcrafting strategy is to harvest the mushrooms, and then to immediately cook them. That kills the bugs while they are still in the egg or tiny larva stage, and thus my family doesn't know that they are eating bugs. If I leave them in the fridge for a few days, the eggs will hatch and the maggots grow large. My family doesn't like that! If I dehydrate them, I blanch them first, to kill the bugs.
Our edible field mushrooms tend to get eaten by maggots if we're not quick to pick them. This autumn it's been bad enough at my favorite collecting spot that they're riddled as soon as they push through the thatch at the surface, so I've pretty much given up. I did pick a bunch and make a slurry, hoping to spread them into some new areas.
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